It’s been nearly 10 years since I first featured Diane Keaton’s classic beach house from Something’s Gotta Give. And even though it’s been 15 years since the movie came out, it continues to be one of my most popular posts, week after week. Clearly, I’m not the only one who still loves it!
I took a look back at that post recently and wished it had bigger, better photos, along with more details about the sets, and realized it was time for an update. Along with tons of new photos, I’ve got a fun look at the sets behind the scenes and scoop on the real house where the exteriors were shot. If you’re a die-hard SGG House Fanatic, then this one’s for you!
Diane Keaton’s “Something’s Gotta Give” Beach House in the Hamptons
First up, let’s take a look at how the beach house looked onscreen.
This overhead shot gives us a better look at the porch, surrounded by hydrangeas:
In the next photo you can see the porch wraps around the side, too:
The SGG Entry Hall:
The interiors were filmed on a Warner Brothers soundstage.
In the DVD commentary they talk about how cold and rainy it was during filming, but you’d never know it. (Affiliate link.)
The painting behind them is by artist Kenton Nelson.
You can buy some of Nelson’s posters and limited edition giclee prints here, but even those aren’t cheap!
The SGG Living Room:
The house was featured in Architectural Digest, which provided us with some great stills of the sets (above).
Nancy Meyers, who is known for turning houses into the stars of her movies, wrote and directed SGG.
She described this one as “Every woman’s dream house.” Yep, pretty much.
Jack Nicholson collects and appreciates art, and he suggested they look into the “beach art” of Edward Henry Potthast. A reproduction/version of his Rockaway Beach painting shown above “is the centerpiece of the room. You don’t see it much, but its presence is felt,” Meyers says.
Production Design was by Jon Hutman (The Holiday). Set Decoration was by Beth Rubino (It’s Complicated).
The sofas looks white with blue trim in some shots, but they were actually a “delicate eggshell blue linen.”
Joni of Cote de Texas said of the famous striped rug in this room:
“Nothing quite says Something’s Gotta Give more than the blue and white striped rug. To duplicate this look in your space, there would have to be a blue and white dhurrie — otherwise, it would just be a pretty room.”
You can find replicas of the rug and similar versions for sale at Aspen Carpet Designs.
The original rug was reportedly an antique that was too large for the room, so they cut it in half and sewed it together to fit. If you look closely in some of the photos you can see the seams where the stripes don’t match up. One lucky blogger bought the rug at an auction, and you can see how it looks in her house today.
The Guest Room:
Jack Nicholson plays Harry Sanborn, who has to recover in Erica’s guest room after a heart attack.
He was originally dating her daughter Marin (Amanda Peet). Nancy Meyers says it was important to make it clear to audiences that the two of them had just started dating and hadn’t “done anything” yet. Marin clears out pretty quickly after he has his heart attack and leaves her mom alone in the house with him.
Erica’s Bedroom and Writing Space:
In the DVD commentary, Nancy Meyers talks about the set:
“There’s not a lot of room for other people in the house. There’s only one guest room. It’s a big kitchen because she likes to cook. Even though I don’t show her bathroom, it was important to me that it not have two sinks. And her desk was in her bedroom because it wasn’t a place for romance.”
Linda Merrill tracked down source info on some things like that pretty little table by the door you can find here.
Locations Hub talks about the painting on Erica’s bedroom mantel, which is from Kenton Nelson’s “Swim Party” series.
Curious about the paint colors? I’ve lost track of the number of questions I’ve gotten about them over the years.
Set Decorator Beth Rubino says they aren’t anything you could get from a paint store, though. They were custom-mixed colors that were designed to look good onscreen. The lighting is different on a set than it is in a house, so even we used the same paint, she says, it wouldn’t look the same. Darn it.
You can listen to an interview with Rubino about the sets on The Skirted Roundtable.
Erica is a playwright who has her desk in the big, windowed alcove of the bedroom:
A writer’s room wouldn’t be complete without bookshelves — and lots of books.
Rubino ordered 3,000 of them for the sets from New York’s Strand Book Store.
To get the details right, Meyers contacted playwright Donald Margulies and asked him to list everything he has on his desk.
The SGG Dining Room:
The dining room has a sisal or seagrass rug, which became a big trend.
The slipcovers for the dining room chairs were made with Lee Jofa’s Bordeaux Toile (now discontinued).
Set Decorator Beth Rubino saw built-ins like these in a friend’s dining room and duplicated them for the movie.
It inspired a lot of people to collect and display their own ironstone.
Also love that swinging door with the round window that separates the dining room from the kitchen:
The SGG Kitchen:
Ahh, the “Something’s Gotta Give” kitchen. The star of the whole dang show!
How many white kitchens with hardwood floors, subway tile, and black countertops do you think this one spawned?
It seemed like such a new look at the time. Those soapstone countertops! Those retro drawer pulls!
Fifteen years later, all you have to do is scroll through Pinterest to see the lingering effects this set had on our kitchens.
They faked the look of greenish-black soapstone by painting MDF and faux-painted the floors to look like dark wood.
Keanu Reeves was charming as her younger love interest. He’s on the movie poster in Japan because he’s so popular there.
Apologies to Diane for this weird screenshot, but I was determined to get a pic of that kitchen wall:
Frances McDormand had a small but memorable role as Erica’s sister:
I’ve heard people say they’ve taken screenshots like this of Jack Nicholson in his underwear to show kitchen designers what they wanted. Little did he know when he filmed this scene that he’d be appearing on design blogs in his boxers for years to come!
They outfitted the kitchen with a stainless-steel Sub-Zero refrigerator and a Wolf range.
Meyers told AD, “The house had to reflect Diane’s character, who is a very successful, accomplished New York playwright in her mid-50s.”
“She is also a divorcée, following a 20-year marriage, who built her Hamptons house as a gift to herself — no compromises — just her total vision of a peaceful life.”
Jon Hutman received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Production Design for his work here.
The DVD is worth buying if you’re a fan for all the special features, including a deleted scene with Harry singing “La Vie En Rose” to Erica in a karaoke bar. Part of this scene was used in the trailer, and he sings the same song during the end credits. Plus, it’s pretty cheap right now! (Amazon affiliate link.)
Diane Keaton scored an Oscar nom for Best Actress for her role as Erica Barry and won a Golden Globe.
The SGG Pool:
That’s how the pool looked in Arch. Digest (above). But this is the only time we see it in the movie (below):
We get a glimpse inside Harry’s bachelor pad in the city, a 19th-century townhouse on East 78th St.
According to IMDb, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) lived here in The Devil Wears Prada. Here’s a screenshot from that one:
Harry brags he was once engaged to Diane Sawyer. Meyers says they got her permission before including it.
Behind the Scenes Set Tour with Amanda Peet:
They built a fake front porch on the soundstage for close-ups.
Peet says that she wished she could live in this set after filming, she loved it so much.
Per AD’s article about the house:
Nancy Meyers’s most pressing conundrum was how to keep her film, an hour of which takes place in five rooms, from feeling like a stage play. “It’s about depth of field, constantly looking from room to room, out a window, believing the beach is beyond,” Meyers explains. “In one scene, where Jack is in the bedroom and Diane stands in the doorway, you see past her into the living room and kitchen. You shouldn’t feel claustrophobic.”
No pretty chandelier to be seen in these shots, where the scenes required more lighting than that!
Here you can see the track that allowed the camera to circle the round table:
There are built-in bookshelves everywhere, including this hallway leading to the kitchen:
In this screenshot from the tour you can see the ceilings are beamed and vaulted in the kitchen:
Rubino says, “Diane’s character loves to cook, so we had to have a practical, functional kitchen.”
In the video tour (found here), Peet introduces us to the people in charge of the props. (Affiliate link.)
Meyers says that as fun as it was to create this house for the movie, it was “horrible” knowing it had to be demolished after filming. She wasn’t able to watch them do it.
Amanda walks us through the living room, past the Swedish Mora clock we all wanted to have (affiliate link).
Down the hallway that leads to Erica’s bedroom:
When Rubino told AD that Nancy Meyers was “very involved in the visual process,” approving every fabric and detail, Meyers laughed and said, “That’s code for ‘She’s a pain in the butt.’”
“But if you’ve spent a chunk of your life writing a character and someone puts them in the wrong clothes, or in a bed with sheets you know she would never own, it’s as if someone’s written dialogue. Sometimes you pick up more from what you’re seeing than hearing.”
Ever wondered how awkward it must be for actors to film love scenes? Um, yeah. I’ll stick to blogging. 😉
Here’s how the back of the house and pool looked behind the scenes — not quite as glamorous, ha:
The Real SGG House:
The entrance to the the real house where exteriors were shot is gated (via Locations Hub).
Real estate agent Tim Davies listed the house in 2014. Sadly, this was the only interior photo:
The walls of windowed doors are similar to what they recreated for the sets, but I prefer the way they decorated it for the movie. If I bought this house, I’d have it replicated as closely as possible!
One site reported that it has 8 bedrooms, 11.5 baths, and 7,700 square feet. But another said 9 bedrooms and 9,625 sq ft. Regardless, it’s bigger than it looks onscreen! And there’s an entire second story we never see in the movie, even though there’s a staircase in the living room (set).
According to Curbed:
The gorgeous Shingle Style house at 576 Meadow Lane in Southampton, whose exteriors were featured in the 2003 movie “Something’s Gotta Give,” has been sold to James Tisch, CEO of Loews Corporation, for $41M. The house was built in 2000 by Mediabistro.com founder Alan Meckler.
It sits on nearly 2 acres of oceanfront property. Pretty sweet!
The beach scenes were filmed elsewhere, at the Flying Point Beach in Water Mill (near Southampton).
I tried to answer most of the questions I’ve gotten about the house over the years, but if I’ve forgotten something, you can follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post for more information. It’s been so long since the movie came out that it’s pretty tough to track down individual pieces like lamps and sheets that I know some of you have asked about.
I hope you enjoyed revisiting the “Something’s Gotta Give” beach house with me. If you’re still here, 2 billion photos later, then I think you’ve earned your status as an “SGG Superfan.” 😀
Nancy Meyers said that since so much of the movie’s action takes place inside the beach house, she knew the design would have to be interesting enough to hold our attention and keep us from feeling claustrophobic. I’d say since we’re still talking about it 15 years later, mission accomplished!